Woody’s Smorgasburger V

Here’s a new thread for those of you discussing Woody’s.  The other ones are closed for further posting but you can still read what’s there.

21 Responses to Woody’s Smorgasburger V

  • Phil Ankofski (64~68 ) says:

    ~ No History today guys … just some Hilarity ~

    Our own Evan Zang is a very talented songwriter and he has inspired
    me to give it a try. This little ditty is sung to the old Thrifty Drug store music.

    ~ Have a Root Beer in a stein …..
    eat at Woody’s all the time.
    Enjoy a burger and much more …..
    at your Woody’s fun store.

    Well Evan ????
    Phil A.

  • mark husar says:

    Another closing story and trivia question at the end….

    The Woodys, Redondo Beach had been closed for the evening. Bunch of guys hangin’ out in the parking lot just shooting the breeze, talking girls and cars. Or maybe cars and girls!!
    I remember a 68 vw, lotus europa, GTO, a 57 ford and a station wagon in the parking lot.
    Near the entry door, there was some kind of tree growing that dropped seeds the size of walnut. I thought to myself, as I picked a few up and took a closer look at them, that they were the perfect size for throwing at the sign outside the business adjacent to the parking lot.
    It took a few tries, but I finally hit that sign with one of the pods.
    There was a fella strolling by who witnessed me throwing that pod, and he meandered down to the telephone both near the street on the West side of the parking lot.
    My brother looked at me and said, ” I don’t like the looks of things. Lets get you outta here”. So we got in his bug and headed for home.

    Good thing we did!!!

    Jim dropped me off at home and went back to Woodys to hang out. Atthe restaurant, there was a parking lot full of cops looking for the kid who had thrown the seed pod at the sign. It turns out that the fella in the phone booth was a detective, and he had called in for some patrol officers to come down and give me some grief. I am sure a ride to the station and a few hours in jail were on the list for me. Maybe cure me of my budding life of crime!!
    Nobody said a word and eventually thecops all went about theirbusiness.

    What was the name of the business whose sign was beaned by the seed pod I threw??

  • Phil Thomas says:

    It’s sure nice reading about all of your memories in context with Phil A’s reminder that as things changed over the years (such as the menu offerings) it can be confusing to some of the really old timers like me… 1959-1961. But please don’t stop talking about the more recent things since it’s good to hear about the way things changed over time.

    So, hear’s another one for Phil A. Do you know when the fish sandwiches and melted cheese were introduced? The reason I ask is that they represent a couple other things that are fuzzy or missing in my memory. I want to say that I can remember them but I honestly can’t. After a very long time working as the backup man followed by the occasional assignments to the other stations (with the exception of the cash register which I avoided like the plague) I worked the grill a lot. That’s probably due in part to the fact that one of the employees (Jacque [spelling?] the French or maybe French Canadian guy who I mentioned some time ago) and who was really good on the grill and more or less claimed it as HIS spot, either transferred, quit or started working shifts that differed from mine. Anyway, at some point I saw less of him and found myself working that position more and more frequently. Seems that I’d remember fish sans and grilled cheese, but I can’t. I’m trying to visualize just how I’d do a grilled cheese on a grill as opposed to a smooth, flat surface. Hmmm, guess I’d take a toasted burger bun, add two (?) slices of cheese and then place it back on the grill, but not directly over the flame until the cheese melted. But could the Radar Range have been used? Yuk. I know what a chewy disaster the microwave makes out of bread and rolls. Can’t imagine that we used that method. But yet, I can almost see myself popping the toasted burger bun with the unmelted cheese slices into the Radar Range for five-seconds.

  • Phil Ankofski ( 1964 ~ 1968 ) says:

    ~ Bob Anderson @ Woody’s El Segundo X 2 ~

    Bob’s first stint with Woody’s began in 1964 as a crew member.
    He won promotions in subsequent years and attained the area manager
    designation in 1969. In mid 1971 , Bob separated from Woody’s due to
    the closing of most of the stores.

    Bob then sold insurance for a number of years, then relocated to become a carpenter in Las Vegas during the building boom there.
    At some point in the late 1980’s , Bob returned to the South Bay area
    and was rehired at the same Woody’s ES as manager. ( second stint ).
    I reconnected with Bob in 1991 during a vacation visit to LA.
    He filled me in on all that had transpired over the past 20 years.

    Around 1993, Bob suffered an on the job medical injury which forced him
    off the job under Workman’s Comp. rules. I have since lost contact.
    Bob and I worked together in 1966/67. He was so well liked by all our coworkers and customers. We did manage several social events outside of work, but our work schedules did not allow for much. I always wished we could have been better friends.
    I hope all is well with you Bob.

    Phil A.

  • Phil Ankofski ~ 1964 CC#1 ~ ES #7 ~ RB #2 1968 ~ says:

    ~ Question ~

    Why did Ralph Wood spend a huge sum of $$$$$$ on three HUGE
    road signs in 1966 instead of some TV advertising like Felix Chevrolet ?
    Phil A.

  • Phil Ankofski ~ 1964 CC#1 ~ ES #7 ~ RB #2 1968 ~ says:

    ~ several real slow sellers ~

    The slow selling fish sandwich ( FS) and the Melted Cheese (MC) still outsold the gorgeous Matterhorn. In my four year tenure, I did not make more
    than THREE Matterhorns. They could have done better with some graphics at the front door.
    Phil A.

  • Phil Ankofski ~ 1964 CC#1 ~ ES #7 ~ RB #2 1968 ~ says:

    ~ Soups on ~

    Two more flavors of soup at Woody’s : Bean and a Split Pea.
    There may have been an extra creamy Tomato as well.
    I was not a soup fan back then ……. but I sure am now.
    Phil .

  • Phil Ankofski ~ 1964 CC#1 ~ ES #7 ~ RB #2 1968 ~ says:

    ~ some afternoon remembrances ~

    The hot dog slicing was an afternoon chore for the lone lineman
    working between the lunch and dinner rushes.
    Perhaps 1/3 of a box was prepped at a time.
    Phil A.

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    Nostalgic: Herzlich Willkommen (pardon, I don’t remember the official language of Woody’s!!!). It is indeed refreshing to have some “youth” join in with remembrances/updates!!! (Alas, but given your sojourn was ’88-’91, I’m not sure 30ish years ago qualifies as anything akin to “Nostalgia” as many of us herein often might say “I remember just the other day (meaning e.g. ’96) when images began on the internet!!! (was it called Mosaic? Mozilla? or something _ _ _illa?…. i.e. adding to textual blatherings ala DOS!)

    Anyway! Tri-tip, T-Bone, New York!!!? Whoa! Rice Pilaf, but still no Green/Red Chile/Jalapeno/Salsa…LOL. BTW, as you have “veiled” yourself in a gender-neutral label: If you’re a Guy, what’s it like working with Gals on-the-line? Did ya still wear the checkered pants; shortsleeved white shirts with suspenders and a Tyrolean hat with a feather; and a 12 inch apron tied with plastic tubing protecting your pants? If U B a Gal, were you one of the first to break “the overhead grill greasetraps” (i.e….LOL…akin to The Glass Ceiling?) Did Y’all still have Condiment Bars? (Speaking of which, were there, i.e. given it is CA, a Condom Dispenser in the both Restrooms?) Were various newspapers still hanging on poles for Guests? A drive-up window? Did yaz have to wear latex/nonlatex gloves? Were you still allowed to (smash the meat) to create a flaming Flare-up to impress “someone” cute passing the Grill Glass?

  • Phil Ankofski ~ 1964 CC #1 ~ ES #7 ~ RB #2 1968 ~ says:

    ~ Following my own suggestion ~

    After my name, I followed with my hire date , then listed the
    stores I worked at in the correct order, and ended with my
    resignation date. It all should stay in place …… I hope.
    Phil A.

  • Nostalgic says:

    There was Bob that was GM at El Segundo in late 80’s, early 90’s? I wanna say his last name may have been Anderson as well??

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Woody’s V off to a robust start ….. very cool ! ~

    Mr. Nostalgic ,
    We are enjoying your comments and hope you can stick with us.
    I would like to suggest that you add a couple of words to your name in order
    to help us remember that your Woody’s tenure was farther down the road.
    Example : Nostalgic ( Post Ralph Wood , 1988 to 1991 )

    It is fun to learn about all the newer menu items which were brought about my the subsequent owner. You yourself worked in a much improved environment with new items like : FRENCH FRYS , beer , chicken breast, bacon , cole slaw , fresh onions and tomato slices. PLUS SATALITE TV !

    My point would be that our older readers see your descriptions about stuff we never worked with and might get confused and think ; WTF is he talking about …… we never had fries or beer !

    Please advise if you agree that this is a good way to go.
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil Thomas says:

    Ah, just thought of something that might jog Bob’s memory of the hot dogs at Woody’s CC. I remember how we used to put them on a wooden chopping block and roll them with one hand while holding a knife at an angle, thus making a spiral slice along the side. You could do two or three at a time that way. It prevented them from curling up when grilled and they looked more attractive as well. What I can’t remember is if that was a job for the bun man (which I think it was) or the backup man. Although I performed that task many times, I don’t recall ever doing it while working the grill. I think we tried to just have a few ready to go that way all the time. Wonder if other restaurants followed the same procedure? Haven’t ordered a hot dog in years.

  • Phil Thomas says:

    Bob– Not only does my memory fail me at times, but my familiarity with many common references such as “Gaslight” and things streaming on Netflix go totally over my head. Fact is that I’ve never opted to have a cable or satellite connection so you might say that I’m living just a bit outside of the mainstream, haha. No TV viewing since I lived in Los Angeles twenty- years ago. Well, I actually do subscribe to Netflix, but it’s via the mail version. In any case, it sounds like you were referring to my mention of hot dogs and green sweet pickle relish. I’d forgotten exactly what the green relish was called and I thank Phil A. for getting it right. Yes, it was simply “green relish” as I now recall. And we most definitely did offer hot dogs. No Alpine variations there, however, just plain hot dogs. And yes, the tongs were also used for the Steak-a-Bobs. One reason hot dogs remain in my memory is partly due to another time I (and possibly others?) were strongly encouraged to stop referring to them as “Tube steaks.” It was probably just one of those passing slang phrases that teenagers would use sometimes, but I can understand how it might have sounded confusing or otherwise to customers if the grill man called out to the cashier that the “The king size and the tube steak will be right up.”

    You are also right, Phil A. about the whipped cream. I remember using it on the Alpine malts, but my mind was trying to fit it in there on the sundae bar as well. Oh, and am I remembering correctly that minestrone was the only soup offered other than clam chowder on Fridays?

  • Nostalgic says:

    This is a really interesting thread. I’m not sure what value my experiences and memory bring to the table here (considering you guys date back to the early days), but here goes….

    On the soup and salad topic, we had big cup type bowls with flat handles. Separate bowls for salad, and a small plate for large salads. Beets on the salad was a popular request.

    They also use to offer, potato salad, cole slaw and macaroni salad.

    Baked potato, French fries or rice (pilaf) were offered as a dinner side.

    Another dinner option included was the choice of soup or salad. The question itself “soup or salad ?”, seemed to offer up quite a bit of confusion. The customers would often reply “Super salad?”.

    I failed in my attempts in training people to ask the question slower, so I just started training people to say “Salad or Soup, sir?”. Haha.

    It really was quality food, good value for dinners too.

    Tri-Tip, Halibut, Chicken Breast, T-Bone, New York and the ever so popular Hamburger Steak special.


  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Woody’s #7 in El Segundo ~

    I thought I would list all of the names I remember from my tenure at El Segundo from July 1966 to March, 1967. If any of these surviving guys happen to discover this new site, be sure to drop in and say hello.

    Bob Anderson, Steve Dabbs, Les Simons, Rudy Bennett, Gill and Rick Hinajosa, Cliff Grubbs, Steve Claypool, Vern Buwalda, & Wendall Jackson.
    Deceased employees : Phil Hartman ( comedian ) , Garey Grubbs ( US Army ),
    and Stan Vossen ( US Army ).

    The names listed comprised about 40 % of the crew members and I wish I could remember more. All the guys were excellent coworkers and made this store such a pleasure to manage. Plus, the store was only 3 years old so there were no maintenance issues of any kind. I took a lot of naps after lunch.
    Phil A.

  • Nostalgic says:

    What a trip down memory lane. I stumbled across this blog by chance. I myself, worked at the El Segundo location 88 to 91. I was a teen in HS.

  • Phil Thomas says:

    Many of the terms used on the web, such as “thread,” still confuse me even though I’ve read the dictionary definition more than once. And some may have different meanings to different people. So, although it looks to me like part V here is intended to be a continuation of the conversation from part IV, perhaps “New thread” it’s intended to mean that the conversation should begin anew and go in a different direction? Please understand that whatever the intent is, I’ll respect it because I know I don’t always understand terms which, to most people, are generally agreed upon. As for the most recent discussion that was going on in part IV, the fact is that I had already shared just about all I could remember about the Smorgasburger in Culver City. But there were a few brief comments which I did intend to finish up with and which I’ll state below. However, if you’d prefer to begin this page with a completely clean slate and steer the conversation in a new direction, I’ll totally understand and you needn’t post any of this. :)

    Phil A– Sad though it was to hear that Don Steinkey’s effort to establish a restaurant on his own ended in closure after less than a year, I much appreciate your sharing that part of the history with us. Although I ended up spending almost the next thirty years working for Los Angeles County, I’ve always admired the courage and risks people like Don take when going into business for themselves. Regardless of the outcome, it’s something he can be proud of.

    Bob– Forgot to thank you for posting the link showing those stainless steel bowls. They are definitely the ones that were used for the condiments and yeah, I can sure remember the feel and sounds they made when handling them. And one last thing (from me, anyway) about the salad station where soup was also offered. You were trying to remember whether the soup was served in bowls or cups. I replied that I couldn’t remember. Ah, but now I’m recalling that we offered large salads in addition to the regular ones. And weren’t the large salads served in the same BOWLS that we used for the soup? Maybe you or someone can elaborate on that.

  • Evan Zang says:

    I am pleased to welcome all returning and new posters to the newest edition of Woody’s Smorgasburger V! Thank you Mark, and Phil, for keeping this site alive with “historical and hysterical” memories!

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    Ok Phil T…. only because you’re an Admitted Fuzzy Minded SmorgAlum as I, I’m not going to question that you might be trying to ‘Gaslight’ us at times!!! (i.e. having recently watched Charles Boyer do it to Ingrid Bergman on Netflix! ((if truth be told, I always thought he was not a suave but kind of a smarmy guy!))). And my reference is? You said “green pickle relish” on the condiment bar as some Folks like to put it on Hot Dogs! While I agree, and think some Folks “require” it on Hot Dogs, I’m at a complete lose in remembering Hot Dogs on the grill! Ok…was there a roundbar along the frontside of the grill at Redondo over which a “mat/cloth” hung for e.g. wiping the grill? And might a pair of industrial tongs hung there? If so, that might be prove of Hot Dogs, but I’m thinking they were used to turn the Steak-ka-Bobs. Ok, if there was a dog offering, what was its Tyrolean name and were there varieties thereof?
    Ok tho….As some Folks liked sweet, green pickle relish on their burgers in days of yore, I’m 50-50 that there might have been a bowl on the Condiment Bar. LOL
    – Elsewise, did anyone eversay how much those “cartons” of milk weighed that had to be hefted into its refrig unit? Regardless, did anyone else feel squimish cutting off the…for lack of a better word…tubing?

  • Phil Ankofski says:


    Well, well ….. looks like I may be the first to inaugurate # V . Fantastic !!
    Not only that, but the 1,500 hundredth comment is just days from being posted. ( all combined Woody sites = 1,2,3,4, and the Woody Gallery )

    Now, for a little more help …….. ” the Rule of Eight “.
    There were 8 condiment bowls for the burger toppings .
    Listed in no particular order :
    Mustard ~ Catsup ~ Salsa ~ Onion ~ 1000 Island ~ Dill Chips ~ Sweet Relish, and the Chopped Peanuts.

    NO MAYO OR TOMATO SLICES during the Ralph Wood ownership. ( 56 to 72)
    A Romaine lettuce leaf was given out by the salad man upon request. No charge. This was extremely rare.

    YES, there was Whipped Cream !!! It was only used to top off the Alpine Malts. It was NOT available for the Sundae Bar. From Presto Foods , Inc.

    Saltine Crackers were given out with a soup order and with a large salad.
    There were no oyster crackers during the Ralph Wood ownership.
    Perhaps in the later years.

    That it for todays history lesson.
    Off to take Mary Ann out to her favorite chicken shack. ( Cane’s )
    For dinner I am broiling a boneless, thick cut Rib Eye with baked potato.

    Enjoy your Mothers Day gatherings.
    And ……. welcome to Woody’s # 5 !

    Phil Ankofski

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